While Los Angeles County, California, is reinstating its indoor mask mandate in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases tied to the Delta variant, Delaware is not planning to do so.
At a recent town hall meeting, Governor John Carney said he was not considering another State of Emergency declaration, capacity restrictions, or a mask mandate. Delaware's State of Emergency expired Tuesday, July 13, after more than a year-and-a-half.
"I don't think we're going to be talking about it or looking at it from the perspective of a State of Emergency requirement," he said. "We can't afford to go backwards in that respect."
Carney cautioned though they'll be keeping an eye on the numbers.
"We're not going to be able to go back unless it gets really bad, and we'll keep our eyes on the conditions on the ground in terms of the number of cases, the percent positive, but our numbers now are quite low."
But numbers are rising, minimally, here in Delaware. New cases of COVID-19 at the town hall stood at 29 on a seven-day moving average.
"We had reached be low 20, at 19 for a couple days, two or three weeks ago," noted the governor.
While testing is down, the percent of positive tests is 1.8%.
"We were under 1%, about .8% two or three weeks ago," he remarked.
Hospitalizations tied to COVID-19 hit a low of 14 at one point. They now stand at 27.
There are no COVID-19 hot-spots currently in the state. But Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health, cautioned COVID is still out there.
"We are still seeing cases in Delaware, and cases are increasing across the country; we continue to see them largely in persons that are not vaccinated by choice or because they're not eligible," said Rattay.
Delaware is also seeing increased cases of the Delta variant, originally found in India. The state has identified a total of just under two dozen cases--adding eight in the past week. That's a jump from the usual two cases added per week.
"This variant is more easily transmissible. The vaccines are highly effective against this and the other variants we're seeing," Rattay said.
She also reiterated a common theme as Delaware surpassed a milestone, administering more than 1 million vaccines.
"Getting vaccinated is really the key. None of us have any desire to go backwards, and getting vaccinated is just key to preventing that."
Gov. Carney said vaccinations among the 18 to 35 year-old age group remain low.
"We have young adults, who feel less vulnerable, for sure--the data supports that--but we need them to get vaccinated because we could have an outbreak, and many of the cases that we're seeing now are in that unvaccinated group 18 to 35 year olds, young adults," said Carney. "If you're in a bar or a restaurant where it's mostly young adults, and nobody's wearing masks, a lot of those people are mask-less unvaccinated folks. So if you're unvaccinated, you should be wearing a mask in those kinds of environments."
While the CDC and FDA continue to look at how long immunity lasts, Dr. Rattay said she won't be surprised if those who've been inoculated against COVID-19 will need a booster shot at some point as vaccine manufactures gearing up to develop them.
"What we don't know yet is if and when we will need them. A great thing is these vaccines are effective, and the immunity from these vaccines seems to be lasting a little longer than was expected which is really fantastic news.
She said emerging variants could alter this course too.
"If we begin to see certainly a variant that isn't well-covered by the vaccine--which is not the case right now--but certainly that would be a reason for a booster shot," she said. "We are poised and ready to do a another big vaccination campaign, if we need to do booster shots for Delawareans."